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Roadfly Magazine
Issue Four
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
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Issue Four
Jan. 6, 2003
LA Auto Show
LA Auto Show Photo Gallery
Mission MINI

Porsche Cayenne Introduction
Maybach Introduction
2003 Jaguar S-Type Road Test
Coming Next Issue
Detroit Auto Show
Nav-TV Interview
Bose Headphones

MISSION MINI: International Intrigue and Mystery -- MINI Style, continued

MINI cars

BMW MINI drivers

BMW MINI Drivers

mission Mini in barcelona spain

Roadfly: Tell us more about the "support" you received from MINI.

KH: All of the cars were outfitted with a PDA that was not only a PDA, but a GPS unit and a phone as well. The phone could be used as a voice phone, and we also received text messages on it as well - often, we'd receive a tip or a clue via the phone, then we'd have to use the phone as our navigation tool to find a certain location.

While the PDA was really cool, ultimately we found ourselves using maps more often than not, because the PDA would do a good job of getting us close to the location, but we'd brought our own maps and found that if we could get within a few blocks with the PDA the map would get us to the destination easier. The thing was great though - by the time we were done with the contest, we pretty much knew Barcelona inside and out.

MINI assigned us an "assistant" who would help us set-up appointments with suspects, and they'd help us organize our day - making sure we got messages and tips at the appropriate moments.

Roadfly: Did the PA help you with directions or finding location?

KH: Oh no - we had to rely completely on our own abilities to get around, either the PDA or the maps. And more often than not, we were under a timeline - we'd get a message saying that we had to be at a certain location in 30 minutes, and it took a lot of effort to get there on time.

Roadfly: You mentioned a driving course, tell us more about that.

KH: It was pretty amazing - on the first day, MINI took us and taught us a lot of cool things about the cars. I think they might have had an ulterior motive of sorts - wanting us to make sure that we returned the cars in one piece and all - but, what they did was take us out to a training grounds where there were 6 driver stations.

We picked up our car at the start of the training and then proceeded to a station. The stations were made up of different skill builders, and were a pretty good mix of high-speed maneuvers and safety maneuvers. For example, there was an understeer/oversteer station, where they taught you how the car reacted in different situations and how to maintain control in those situations. Then there was a high-speed cornering section that taught you how to apex and control the throttle through a corner.
There were a few emergency-braking stations, which were pretty tricky, and there was an emergency lane-change station that simulated an emergency lane change at around 80kmp/h without using your brakes to make the lane change.

The slalom station was cool because near the end of the session, they showed how well the Goodyear Run-Flat tires worked by letting all of the air out of the rear tires and then having us go through the course on 2 flat tires. The car felt a little sluggish/tail happy, but it was very controllable, which was incredibly impressive.

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